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Amazon will launch its own delivery service to compete with FedEx, UPS (bgr.com)
421 points by artsandsci on Feb 9, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 296 comments



This bgr article has unfortunately completely misunderstood what the news is.

> Amazon may be a one stop shop for home goods, electronics, furniture, clothing and more, but in order to actually get items to your home, the e-commerce giant has to depend on delivery services like FedEx and UPS

No, amazon already has its own logistics company that operates in many locations. The news is that it is now going to offer this to as a service to ship other companies' packages.

From the linked WSJ article:

> Dubbed “Shipping with Amazon,” or SWA, the new service will entail the tech giant picking up packages from businesses and shipping them to consumers, according to people familiar with the matter.


From the bgr article:

> Dubbed “Shipping with Amazon” (SWA), the service will pick up packages from businesses and deliver them to customers.

> Sources claims that Amazon will begin rolling out the service in Los Angeles within the next few weeks in Los Angeles with third-party sellers that do business through Amazon.com.

Seems like the same news.


If so, the bgr article's author has not expressed it clearly.


Their delivery service is frustrating. It seems to be the norm, and accepted, that drivers will mark packages delivered a full 24 hours ahead of time and do the delivery the next day, presumably to meet delivery requirements.

I've also had these individuals basically solicit me for a tip, recounting how they're underpaid, etc.

I really don't like this move to try to uber-ify package delivery. UPS/FedEx have their bad moments, but at least I don't have to worry that the employees are under too much duress to deliver, or are on the edge of unreasonably compensated.


I've been in Seattle for around a month and can completely agree with this. One time half of an order went to a wrong apartment, and the other half came the next day. UPS and related have access codes to get into the building where Amazon doesn't. Having free same day delivery is a life-changer, but Amazon needs to improve a lot.


One Amazon delivery guy knocked on my door so aggressively around 7am that I thought he was trying to break in.


I had one earlier this week call my phone repeatedly before 6 AM (breaking through the "do not disturb) to complain he couldn't find one of my packages in his car.


just curious: how do they ask for a tip? i honestly can't imagine any scenario where it's reasonable for a delivery personnel to ask for a tip, so i imagine it must be super awkward to even bring it up.


Ah so that's why that has been happening lately. Makes sense.


I have had Amazon folks in my neighborhood: leave packages on the sidewalk, throw packages over fences and ask me for a tip.

These are antecdotal, but if Amazon wants to catch up to a company like UPS, they have a ton of ground to make up. Delivering packages is really hard work, believe it or not, and underpaying someone to do it isn't going to bring about the results you're after, guaranteed.


Was coming here to post the same thing. The vans in my area are unbranded, the employees unprofessional and the delivery is sloppy. "Soft" expenses such as uniforms and paint make a difference on perception, as would better supervision and training.

I also wonder, in the drivers' defense, if the delivery schedule is unrealistic. I can better understand lobbing a box on the lawn if you're 10 deliveries behind.


An unmarked van isn't too welcome in some parts around me. Some people are downright defensive about visitors on their road. On the other hand, a recognizable UPS or FedEx is likely to get a friendly wave.

Amazon would do well to paint their logo on the van, but maybe it isn't their van.

Branding matters.


What area is this out of curiosity?


I can't answer for the grandparent, but it's not an uncommon situation in the eastern Washington/northern Idaho area. Much of it is rural enough that there's very little reason to be on many roads unless it's a delivery driver or something illegal. They're not roads you'd even end up on if lost -- it's a deliberate choice.


NW Montana. People are friendly, but private.


Sounds like contract work done by the lowest bidder. No coherent chain of a command, just get stuff to people's houses no matter what or lose your contract.


I often see Home Depot rented vans being used for this. No idea how that can be profitable.


Amazon used to use ONTRAC to deliver packages to me that did the same thing (complete with the unbranded vans). They stopped after the sixth package was stolen.


> The vans in my area are unbranded

Most of my deliveries have been in cars uber-like.

> "Soft" expenses such as uniforms

They do wear an unlabeled orange vest here. Maybe that is just for safety when crossing roads but it lets me know who they are.


Ditto. I think Amazon is used to having complete supervision of people in their warehouses, where any slip-ups are found and fixed quickly before a package goes out. The delivery driver, on the other hand, needs a certain level of street smarts and people skills and has to be able to function with minimal supervision. That kind of person isn't going to work for you for minimum wage.

When I order from Amazon and see that they're going to try to ship it on their own, I just groan. It's going to be painful for sure.


> I just groan. It's going to be painful for sure.

I get amazon packages every day or two for my startup. I don't ever remember any pain.


Sounds pretty similar to my two experiences with Amazon Fresh. First guy shows up and goes into a long story about how his leg is broken and how terrible his day is going. Not to be unsympathetic, but clearly this guy was just trying to solicit a tip, which I was planning on giving anyway, but decided against after the experience. Second time around I just pick the "leave it at the door" option, and they dropped it off at the wrong building, and when I found it, it was also the wrong order.


Sounds like you may have actually stolen mail inadvertently.


There's a sticker label with your name and address on it attached to the green bags.


Same. I've personally ran into amazon delivery people lost in our apartment complex, badged them into the building, and walked them to where they should drop off packages. I'd feel like it was a one time thing, but it seems like every week they've got a new guy delivering here, and its a tossup whether they're properly trained to know what to do. Meanwhile, the same USPS guy has been coming here for 3 years.


They use an Uber like model with gigsters to do deliveries which is why you encounter different people https://www.geekwire.com/2017/amazon-delivery-driver-like-wo...


Well, any notion of a mailman who knows things goes out the window with this model.

Good luck to those whose delivery location can't be easily located in the real world using <map app of the day>.


That is a problem. Our UPS driver has his own map of the area because there are so many addresses that don't map. I doubt gigster type is going to put in that much effort.


I wish there was larger adoption of a system like what3words for these rural areas. Something like if Amazon is unable to geocode your address give you the option to specify lat/lon location or 3x3m grid.

Shame that the company that uses the system seems really protective of the idea and might try to sue if someone were to come up with their own similar implementation. It's one of the places I believe that the profit motive actually gets in the way of innovation (the idea itself is simple enough that you could probably engineer a system to use it in a few weeks).


There's https://plus.codes/ which seems to be more liberal and licenses its codes under the Apache 2.0 license.

However, although it has been around since 2014, I've never seen any practical use.


It got so bad with the AMZN delivery company that we finally requested they ship to us with anyone but them.

- Delivery dates constantly getting pushed back 1-3 days (why even have prime?).

- Delivery notifications for packages that were never delivered, and not even attempted to be. Someone is almost always home and we have a security camera on all approaches to the house, they don’t even try.

- Completely lost packages.

- Our stuff getting delivered to the neighbors, and vice versa.

Amazon’s delivery has been an unmitigated disaster in our neighborhood.


This will be no change for me. Where I’m at UPS and FedEx just toss the package at the porch/doors and then bolt. Very unprofessional and NEVER once ring the door bell. I don’t expect them to wait, but FFS how much extra work is it to hit the damn doorbell?


It's probably the "performance optimization" and such described below having an effect. This stuff happens in a lot of the traditional types of companies that are labor and equipment heavy. The new bosses in middle gotta push productivity up, costs down. They might mandate performance standards or with the time optimization allocate the "right" amount of hours for each job. The workers might get fired for not meeting specific numbers.

https://harpers.org/archive/2015/03/the-spy-who-fired-me/?si...

They probably don't have many better options either given they were doing deliveries for UPS and FedEx. The employees responding to that environment will either accidentally or intentionally in spite do stuff like that. I've seen quite a few of those companies. You also get to experience more spite the less the company or customers care about them. The jobs that require slaving away for nothing under assholes are the most consistent in generating that effect.


But the package ends up near your house. That's a huge improvement over Amazon.


Unfortunately it’s not an improvement because theft of packages is rampant in my neighborhood. So despite someone working from home we still end up with packages stolen.

These days I just have my packages kept at UPS and go pick them up.


Seems like a lot of room to innovate with technology, and I bet Amazon is banking on that.

This reminds me a lot of Amazon marketplace, where they took the core service (Amazon e-commerce) and opened it up to others without holding inventory. They can use other people’s orders to gain even more scale and drive costs down lower in the distribution network, commoditizing the complement layer (delivery, in this case UPS and FedEx).


Just this week, I've once again found Prime -- on multiple packages -- to apparently mean "when we get around to it".

I'm going to finally watch "The Wire" and a few other of their streaming offers that have been on my todo list, and then consider not renewing. (And... I'm wondering how onerous the process of effectively disconnecting them from my credit card will be.)


The good news is you can usually get a few bucks back if you complain to support about that.


Thanks for that advice. However, the inconvenience outweighs such savings, for me. I've also found Amazon support to be becoming less and less generous with respect to "making things right".


IMO this is very bad news for the economy. Amazon will do very well as a delivery service, because unlike competition they have underpaid and overworked deliverers. They basically uberified delivery. The costs are much lower, but delivery jobs will shift to low paid, no benefits 'gigs'. Amazon is more and more scary as it monopolizes more and more businesses.


„...unlike competition they have underpaid and overworked deliverers...“#

This is a pretty accurate general description of the delivery industry per se, not Amazon specific.


When I was a jumper for UPS in my college years, it was known that UPS had the best pay "in the trucking industry." UPS drivers could clear six figures after about 10 years. I think they averaged about 80k.

Now it's true that they worked them to the bone, but they were paid well. Being a UPS driver also comes with a lot of perks. My driver had several lady friends on his route. Most of the business he picked up from loved him and we got lots of Christmas presents.

Not sure if their compensation has kept up with inflation but it wasn't a bad job at all.


You can make a solid argument UPS delivery folks have better lifetime earnings than physicians:

http://www.er-doctor.com/doctor_income.html


Thanks to the union for that, I think.


I have a facebook friend who is a driver at UPS and she absolutely loves it.


Facts. UPS has excellent perks for their employees.


Wouldn't that be an indication that the wages are at market?


>at market

Ah yes, the calling card of people that think systematic exploitation of workers in a global economy where only the top few are gaining wealth is fine because "free market rules" matter in a world full of regulatory capture and industries with too high of a barrier to entry to foster true competition.


> high of a barrier to entry to foster true competition.

The article is literally about true competition being attempted in a high-moat business.


This isn't true competition. This is vertical integration.

Amazon isn't offering to deliver Walmart packages for a price.


Actually that's exactly what the article is about. Amazon has already had their own delivery drivers for a long time, they are now directly competing with UPS and FedEx by shipping packages for businesses that don't operate on Amazon's eCommerce platform.


If Amazon loses money on each delivery to stoke its market share, Walmart should use it as its delivery service until Amazon has exhausted its foray into last mile logistics.


That's literally exactly what they're offering. This is directly competing with FedEx/UPS.

"...the new service will entail the online retail giant picking up packages from businesses and shipping them to consumers."""


Because paying for things more than they are worth makes all the sense. Soviet experiment worked out really well!

Of course what Amazon will pay their delivery personnel will match the quality of Amazon service, such as it is, anyway.


I am happy to tip my waiters well. Works out great for me!


Note -- you said tip. And I imagine you tip if you got at least acceptable service (something that looking at comments here doesn't happen too often with AMZL).


Based on the posts on HN, one of two things will happen:

1. Enough people will say "screw Prime" and Amazon will start trying to figure out how to fix that.

2. The turnover for delivery employees will be so bad, that it will cost Amazon more than if they just paid them better and had better working conditions.


3. Gigster with intent to steal. Absolutely no way to tell lost vs damaged vs misdelivery vs opened & reboxed vs stolen. It just never madr it


It should be pretty easy to identify this based on value of package, etc.

A driver could steal one package, but anything consistent would be quickly detected and dealt with harshly (eg, predict when a sting will be most effective and coordinate with police, etc).


No, not in the "pro-worker" world. Amazon will just continue "exploiting" workers and there will be no consequence. Customers will be completely happy with shitty service.


Maybe this is bad for certain workers, but there's no reason to believe it's bad for the economy. The money saved on paying delivery drivers will be allocated elsewhere.


The offshore accounts of corporate executives?


Perhaps, but also perhaps toward investment.


... in fur coats and diamond jewelry?


What specifically makes them underpaid? Are their wages getting stolen or illegally withheld? Is there some market force that is coercing lower wages than they would get otherwise?


For one political trend that answers your question in part:

According to the Legal Defense Foundation, right-to-work laws prohibit union security agreements, or agreements between employers and labor unions, that govern the extent to which an established union can require employees' membership, payment of union dues, or fees as a condition of employment, either before or after hiring. Right-to-work laws do not aim to provide general guarantee of employment to people seeking work, but rather are a government regulation of the contractual agreements between employers and labor unions that prevents them from excluding non-union workers,[2] or requiring employees to pay a fee to unions that have negotiated the labor contract all the employees work under.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

As noted elsewhere in this subthread, UPS by contrast is unionized (or used to be or is in parts) and seems to offer a livable wage to its drivers.

Whereas the Gig Economy rationalization seems to be: "Show me the gun that was held to your head when you accepted this lousy job."


Usually there is actually a gun. People are desperate for jobs, because if you don't work you don't eat.

And exploiting desperate people can lead you down a dark path as a society... provided anyone in the US still gives a shit about empathy, morality and the value of life.


I don't think Right to Work laws are the problem. I see no issue with not forcing employees to join a union. If the union actually does a good job, employees should want to join the union*.


The issue is that the union provides a public good. Strike for a pay rise? Your non-union colleagues will get that too. Hire a lawyer to sue for better health and safety? Employees who never paid their dues will benefit.

These concerns don't persuade me personally that Right to Work laws are bad. I'm just telling you they exist and probably have some validity.


I worked for UPS for a long time, and if I am understanding what you are saying then no, you must be a due-paying member of the IBT to benefit from contractually-negotiated benefits and pay. UPS corporate has a totally different set of benefits, pay, and expectations from their Teamster counterparts.

I may have misunderstood what you meant though.


Compulsory union membership strengthens collective bargaining by preventing defections. Game theory 101.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Logic_of_Collective_Action

The doublespeak "Right to Work" sabotages collective bargaining, disempowering Labor.


How does that answer the question? Doesn't UPS provide services in right-to-work states as well? And vice-versa for Amazon?


Monopoly: "the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service."

Not sure how increasing competition in any space creates a monopoly.


There's a difference between a new entrant appearing, and a firm with a monopolistic presence in one (or more) areas extending vertically into others.

Note that Amazon has a distinct and proven track record of utilising its monopoly position to squeeze competing and complementary firms in other spaces. Notably with Hachette.

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-amazon-and-...


I believe in the implication is that Amazon will cut out the competition because of its cost advantage, leading towards a monopoly, not unlike what it's (trying) to do in many other sectors.


"monopoly" is just a moral classification for something that is "big" now. It doesn't mean lack of competition or have any other strict definition anymore.


It's interesting reading the comments in this thread as they seem to be very much from a US standpoint. Here in the UK it's rare for Amazon packages to be sent by anything other than Amazon Logistics. There are issues with misdelivery or leaving things in plain view, but the same is true of their competitors such as Yodel. The difference with Amazon is that even if they've taken a photo of a safe place as 'proof' of delivery for an item they don't argue if you report it as undelivered.

Prime gives you free next day delivery, including outside of business hours and weekends, and sometimes free same day depending on their logistics. Overall, buying from Amazon and having them deliver it is a better than average experience.


Logistics in the UK are quite different than in the US. In fact, I always thought the UK was a bit more innovative when it came to shipping. For example, shipping lockers are still quite new in the US. In fact, I think Amazon owns the only lockers I've ever seen in person.

As a side note, I will also apologize if you've ever used Yodel, since a small part of my development efforts went towards their early logistics systems.


It's possible that part of the difference is that here in the UK, the competitors are often companies like Yodel that had already taken the same gig-economy, overworked subcontractors with unrealistic targets approach that Amazon have.


According to the Yodel driver who delivers to us, they are paid a rather small per-parcel fee and expected to make an almost unreasonable number of deliveries in a certain timeframe. They already have the same factors that are likely responsible for pushing the quality of Amazon's service down.


Completely different management, probably. My experience with Amazon Logistics in the US is horrible too, worse of the carriers by a big margin.


Their service with their existing delivery service (Amazon Logistics) has been TERRIBLE thus far. Lazy drivers leaving packages in clear sight in the middle of the driveway, unreliable delivery estimates, etc.

This last Christmas season, everything shipped from Amazon via UPS / FedEx arrived on time as expected. Everything Amazon shipped via their AMZN Logistics / USPS was late, 50% arrived after Christmas even when ordered on December 14.

We've stopped shopping at Amazon in favor of other vendors who let you pick your shipping service. Their customer service just keeps collecting information, but it's not getting any better.

> If SWA is cheaper than FedEx or UPS, you can bet that customers will opt for Amazon’s service instead.

You get what you pay for... I'll avoid Amazon until I can pick my own RELIABLE carrier. UPS & FedEx have shown they are reliable.


Please don't use uppercase for emphasis in HN comments. This is in the guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.


I've noticed that Amazon has been silently bumping shipping estimates for my prime account. Ordered something on Monday morning that said it would arrive Wednesday. I get to Wednesday and didn't notice a shipping notification - I look at my amazon account and my formerly "guaranteed" delivery date now just said expected by February 7-8. Wednesday "or" Thursday.

On the other hand, I ordered something from bestbuy with their normal free shipping and it showed up on my doorstep literally the day after.


I've started contacting customer service and requesting compensation when this happens. I tell them politely I pay for prime benefit and you are not granting me that benefit, therefore I receive a reduced prime fee.

I have had $10 and $5 credits given to me when this happens and I encourage everyone else to. Amazon needs to support the benefits they grant customers for prime.


Yes. More of this. Amazon is starting to slip. It takes literally 1 minute on support text-chat to do this and it always saves more $ with less hassle than you would have if you went with another site. I've done this 3-4 times and every time I say it's the Nth time I've had to do it and they keep offering more and more.

What's especially annoying is that you have to pro-actively reach out to them. This isn't customer-obsessed.


I think I found a weekend project. Code an Amazon late delivery chat bot. Doesn't seem too hard.

Login and grab orders that are shipped. Compare delivery date (x). See if it changes or matches the estimate at time of order(y). If I package is deemed late create a message containing x and y and order number. Open chat support paste message. Might have to throw some additional canned responses but it seems pretty easy.


Paribus.co does exactly this


Kinda cool - it does the first part based on what I see. It lets you know that they dropped the ball on delivery, but it's still on you to contact customer-service. Probably not a bad thing but I wish it went just a bit further - perhaps opening the chat for me and pre-populating a chat on the clipbooard or something....


What do you mean "it's still on you to contact customer service"?

Paribus contacts customer service to Amazon on your behalf for missed packages. Literally they open a ticket with amazon and complain.[0]

[0]: https://paribus.co/support/topics/purchases-and-claims/274


I agree. It doesn't solve the last mile. The 'call to action' is just another email or notification. You still relinquish your inbox. They seem very transparent so I'm not trying to mock. But access to my entire inbox versus just my Amazon? I'll take the later.


Bonus points for using AWS AI services to power this over AWS Lambda.


Yes—and in the process—give Amazon more of your money.


I would happily run that.


Email me when it's ready. jim.jones1@gmail.com

I'll help test. :)


> you have to pro-actively reach out to them

It's been a long while since they missed a prime delivery date for me, but the couple of times they did, they credited my account automatically without my involvement (other than reading their email notification). Maybe I just got lucky?


Before I just dropped Amazon altogether, something like 75% of my Prime orders were late. At some point it becomes tedious to go to them and ask for some compensation. And they only ever offered me extensions of Prime (and lied about it, too, but that's another story). And I don't even live in some remote area...


I dropped Amazon because of their business practices, but it did not help that I live 30 miles from a fulfillment center and my prime orders we’re consistently late. Walmart is a 5 minute drive, and quiet at night.


Their business and labor practices didn't help either. Of course it didn't help matters that they had flat out lied to me for a week.


It used to be better when (presumably) they had more consistent delivery. They used to offer a month of free Prime membership when your package came late, but now they've been instructed to only offer the credits on additional orders.


I've also received a month extension on my prime. I indicated $10 which was approximate value for month extension.


I would do it but I do not have the patience to be on the phone for 30 min fighting over $10


Takes 5 minutes via chat, I do it while watching tv or checking email.


I think you can do it over chat.


My success rate over chat is 0%. I just get told over and over that 'Prime guarantees shipping, not delivery. So your package will be shipped within 2 days [or 1 day for 1-day] to the nearest Amazon distribution center. Usually this matches with the delivery date, but not always. The updated delivery date for your order is when you will get it, so we are following our end.'


Give them a link to the terms of service and say "please direct me to the language in your terms of service to that effect." Follow up with "as a paying prime member, I insist on compensation for Amazons failure to meet their guarantee". This has always worked for me. Some reps have pressed back when I insisted on two instances of compensation for one order with two late packages. I replied "I have no sympathy for a multi-million dollar company that fails to meet its obligations." Have gotten several months of prime and gift cards through chat in this way.


They tried that on me today (I've had a bad run this month - I usually have about an order a day)...

Item bought on Monday, with expected -delivery- Wednesday. Late Monday status said "Package has left seller facility and is in transit to carrier".

It's Friday morning now, no package, and status is still "in transit to carrier".

I argued that "Shipped" means the carrier has it. Not that it may or may not be sitting in a corner of a truck for the last week forgotten or unnoticed.


I've only done this via chat, I don't have time to sit on hold or deal with phone.


5 of my last 6 orders from Amazon have been bumped.

We've been Prime customers for years, but we're getting incredibly frustrated that we're paying for an annual subscription and being promised two day shipping - but consistently missing.

At this point, I'm starting to look back to smaller sites that offer more traditional 4-7 day shipping. They might still be slower than Amazon (which is about a 3.5 day average for us), but at least they're never missing their delivery window.


I can't tell you how weird this sounds to me. When I moved to the US, I paid one year of Prime and then stopped, because that was the year they raised the price from $80 a year to $100. Since then, I have been using the free shipping option (5-8 business day) for the vast majority of my orders and I have consistently received my orders before their initial estimate. The only reason why I paid for Prime that one year was because of Amazon Instant Video, but I got disappointed by lack of Spanish subtitles and the lackluster content selection.


I wonder if this experience is different depending on where you live? I have lived in the DC area for the past five years and I never thought about purchasing Prime because everything I (used to) order on Amazon would arrive within 2-3 days with the regular free shipping option.


I've had the same thing happen to me a couple of times on Amazon. I've actually started taking a screen shot of the original "Guaranteed Delivery Date" and complaining to customer service if it gets changed. The odd error is fine, but when it starts to become a regular thing, something needs changing.


Amen - once in a while is weather or whatever. Happening enough that we notice it's a trend is Amazon being shitty and hoping they don't get caught.


I tried to order something today that's in stock and sold by Amazon and the delivery estimate was next Friday through the following Tuesday. I didn't bother and instead ordered it from Target for the same price and I'll have it Sunday or Monday. I'll probably stop paying for Prime if this sort of thing continues to happen.


I had this happen constantly. It was pissing me off, but not what made me boycott amazon altogether.

They started charging my items to other credit cards associated with my account (added in the past to make one-off purchases for relatives or friends.) To prevent this happening again, I deleted every card from my account except my one current personal card.

Despite that, a few weeks later they charged a random subset of my holiday shopping to my mothers credit card. Now, we have an excellent relationship, but you can imagine even the best of relationships has a wtf moment when a thousand dollars of spending randomly appears on their account without so much as a by-your-leave.

I called amazon to complain, and their response was just, “well, you got the items you ordered, didn’t you?”

They were contemptuously baffled as to why this was at all a problem.

I yelled at them until they refunded my prime membership and closed my account.


Here's how it looks like from my side as a seller.

1. Buyer places order, order goes into pending for anywhere from minutes to days

2. While order is pending, units of inventory are moved to another fulfillment center

3. Once the units arrive, are received and checked-in, the order goes live

4. The customer receives their order two days later

I suspect this happens 1. for items less often purchased which have little historical data to rely on, and 2. items which have been freshly received and haven't yet been distributed across the US.

I am a very small time Amazon 3p seller, so I might be able to answer some questions you have about Amazon or FBA.


Pretty cool stuff. Do you as a seller only ship to one fulfillment center or is it up to you to manage the inventory at each fulfillment center?


You can typically get an extension of prime for a month in this situation if you chat with amazon. I end up paying every 18 months for 1 year of service, basically getting 6 months free. As a frequent user of prime, I have no idea how this isn't losing them money.


People have told me this, but it seems fruitless for me to get free months for a service I am unhappy with. Instead I recently cancelled my subscription.


Your alternative is competitor sites which usually don't even offer 2-day shipping or will charge you expedited shipping costs if they do. And even then they usually defer responsibility for delays to the carriers.

IMHO prime is worth it even if I have to spend a few minutes on chat to get it extended by 50%. What is truly frustrating is their "guarantee" that isn't a guarantee.

This lack of transparency and continual missing of their promises erodes my trust in them. Most of the time it's fine - whatever - I don't need those AA batteries on a Sunday....

But the fact that they guaranteed that they would be there, didn't tell me they'd be late, and didn't proactively offer anything to back up their guarantee is super shady. Either don't guarantee a date, or proactively offer recourse when you don't meet your own self-imposed guarantees.


> Your alternative is competitor sites which usually don't even offer 2-day shipping or will charge you expedited shipping costs if they do.

This is a lot less true than it used to be. I had to buy a few things from other sites recently (not carried on Amazon, or the sort of thing that attracts counterfeits or such shenanigans) and was surprised to discover how much other places have caught up in the shipping game.

Even a small-volume niche-market foreign company like B&W shipped me a pair of headphones with free two-day shipping recently.


Over the past few years I have ordered largely from retailers like Walgreens, CVS, Target, Home Depot, B&H, Microcenter, etc. and in most cases shipping has been free or cheap and just as fast or faster than Amazon ever was (or I’ve purchased things in retail stores).

Avoiding Amazon has actually been easier than I expected and if anything I’ve found purchasing more convenient overall.


The last time I tried to do that, they wouldn't do it. They just said "sorry, sometimes we don't get stuff out in time".

It's getting to the point I'm about to cancel - they are late more often than not, and customer service responses are really poor.


Not always true. I’ve tried it every time and they go “it’s weather related” when it’s obviously not.


One thing I noticed in the UK is that there are items which are "Prime Eligible" and items that are "Delivered at no extra cost for Prime members". The latter will also give a "guaranteed" next-day date, but seem far more prone to slipping and getting a "Now expected" date.


After fighting with chat/phone support for months, I finally emailed jeff@amazon with a lengthy message recounting my recent shipping experiences with USPS. They removed USPS as an option from my account. Everything now comes from UPS/FedEx.

It may be worth noting that I spend roughly one order of magnitude more than their average prime customer annually (work equipment).


Amazon will let you "deprioritize" any delivery service for your address EXCEPT Amazon Logistics. Any requests to deprioritize Amazon will get forwarded to a committee that will likely deny your request (of course, without telling you). It's an entirely different business process which I'm sure was deliberately made more difficult.

I have great experiences with USPS, UPS, and Fedex. Amazon Logistics has been terrible, and I suspect it's because of its GPS-driven gig-economy implementation.


> I suspect it's because of its GPS-driven gig-economy implementation

Agreed, and specifically it's the yield they expect from their drivers. AMZL expects nearly double the deliveries from its drivers than UPS does. UPS has been doing this for decades across the globe, I would bet they've squeezed just about every last bit of efficiency out of their routes and process... so AMZL's expectations are outrageous, which leads to packages thrown from cars, packages found in ditches, etc. The drivers can't possibly complete their deliveries. The drivers are unhappy, the customers are unhappy and soon Amazon will be unhappy if they don't figure this out.


> the customers are unhappy and soon Amazon will be unhappy if they don't figure this out.

Yeah, AMZL's awfulness opened my eyes to how uncompetitive Amazon's prices have become. The one-two punch of that broke my Amazon-first shopping habit.


For some reason, my packages are rarely delivered by AMZL (although it does happen). But, I too have stopped my amazon-first habit... I noticed a couple shipments that I bought on amazon were actually drop shipped from walmart.com and target.com by the third party seller. Sure enough, I looked up the products on those sites and they were 15-20% cheaper.

It takes a little more time now, but I do a quick google price search before buying anything on amazon. Sometimes, if it's only a small difference, then it's worth the frictionless experience of buying through amazon, but as I create accounts on more and more sites, the frictional difference is becoming marginal.


Having read a bit about the amazing logistics involved in modern package delivery, I am stunned. You can't beat UPS/FedEx. Not because they're superheroes, but because they've simply taken things to their logical conclusion. Unless you have rockets, drones, or some radically different form of transportation getting involved or something, you're not delivering more packages.

It stinks a bit of modern employers desires to ignore the fact that their employees are human beings. I expect any day now to hear of a big company tearing out all the bathrooms in their offices and cancelling lunch hours because it will 'improve efficiency.' If you don't want to deal with the basic truths of human employees, then you don't belong in business, period.


I thought they had a the equivalent of a Service Oriented Architecture internally, where Amazon departments had to sell their services to other departments on an equal footing with outside vendors. That's what allowed them to make AWS available so easily, they already treated internal customers as if they were external.

Has that changed in recent years?


How do you apply that principal to the last mile problem?

To be fair, Amazon is fair at handling Customer Service complaints. I ordered a package with a scheduled 2 hour delivery window ({Fresh, Now}) and it came 2 hours late. The package needed a signature so I was at the delivery site for a total of six hours. My $100-$150 package expense was credited to my account after a short call to customer service.


> How do you apply that principal to the last mile problem?

Isn't the answer obvious? Make the Amazon Logistics team compete on an even footing with UPS, USPS, and FedEx. If the retail team has process for one of its customers to blackball UPS because it had a bad experience with it, then they should have the same process to blackball Amazon Logistics. (I'm 'should' here to mean that would comport with the SOA style business structure, not to make an ultimate judgment on whether it is a good model for a business overall.)


I was able to have them remove amazon logistics after repetive drivers called me first thing in the morning demanding I meet them at the street because they couldn’t find the entrance to an apartment building.


odd. after several repeated issues with amazon logistics (the worst was a package marked "out for delivery", then "business closed" for a full week of attempted deliveries - this was to a private residence up on a hill), I've only had packages shipped usps - it took several conversations with support staff, and after a few rounds of "free prime extensions", they stopped the shipments via amazon.


> it took several conversations with support staff, and after a few rounds of "free prime extensions", they stopped the shipments via amazon.

That's what it takes. IIRC, they'll only consider deprioritizing AMZL if you've had 3 misdeliveries (by their reckoning) in the last 6 months. I haven't had the time to basically go to war with them to get them to stop, I just shifted my shopping habits instead.


Really, how do you deprioritize?

I'm in Canada, so it may be US only. I do know you can force them to use Canada Post if you enter a PO Box.

Also, amazon's delivery service has been excellent here, chiefly because they don't require signatures. Using any other courier means it often goes to some depot in the suburbs, which is a terrible policy for urban Montreal.


To be fair, Amazon is directly able to influence the details of how Amazon Logistics works for your address, and they likely want to improve it, using customer feedback to do so. They have less leverage and incentive for other carriers.


> and they likely want to improve it, using customer feedback to do so

I know, but the other carriers are already good, and I'm not super interested in being the guinea pig to train Amazon's. They're just brain-dead in so many different ways:

1) I'm not a dispatcher, I don't want to give directions to a driver or talk him to my address. That's Amazon's job.

2) I'm not Amazon's cartographer either, and it was super annoying to have to talk a phone rep through dropping a map pin on my place.

3) Every other carrier seems to be able to read the sign with delivery instructions at my door, why not Amazon? They ignore it so often I got tired of calling and complaining about that.

4) They should leave door-notes when there's a problem like every other carrier.

A lot of the stuff they need to improve on is simple stuff they could have easily learned by looking at the customer experience of their competitors, so I'm not really willing to cut them much slack. Especially since they force their carrier on me rather than giving me options.


I love you right now. I had no idea that was a thing. I've repeatedly asked that USPS not be used because I like my packages to make it on time and to the right place. USPS has only been more reliable than the Amazon service which misses about 50% of the time and tramples all over my lawn about 30% of the time. I offered video proof but they apparently don't need it. I wish I could go FedEx or UPS only.


> and tramples all over my lawn about 30% of the time

The more I read the comments the more I realize the complaints about delivery services really hit "corner cases" insanely fast. Like I would be livid if a driver didn't just leave a package at my door/driveway. I got it delivered because I don't want to deal with the hassle - if it gets stolen that's simply a cost of doing business. But I have friends who would be just as livid in the opposite direction.

I never would have considered someone cares about a delivery person walking over their lawn to drop a package off.

I think we're going to see more and more of these pain points as we migrate from "dedicated delivery guy you become friends with who knows all the idiosyncrasies of his customers" to "random dude in a Prius who had a couple hours to spare". And I'm completely convinced the latter is coming to the major delivery companies if they want to stay competitive - Fedex Ground is only a hop skip and a jump away from that already.

I imagine what's old will become new again as we re-invent the wheel for a solved problem of 100's of years. The mailbox. We'll simply see a standardized set of shipping lockers be available for both home install and shared use. I imagine within 15 years delivery services will refuse to deliver to anything but such a device. Much like how we saw the evolution of mail service in the US - went from "bob's farm in Springville, MA" to basic numbers, to streets, to zip codes, to requiring standardized mailboxes if you are to get delivery.


It really is very context dependent, and can change rapidly. When I lived in one apartment, I would always prefer UPS as that driver would leave my packages at the leasing office across the parking lot, where FedEx would try once then make me drive to their location to pick it up, and USPS would try for several days in a row (so if I went to the post office to pick it up at lunch, it was always out on a truck) which meant my packages would come 3 days later than I expected.

Then I moved to another apartment in another town and I preferred USPS because they had keys to leave the package in basically a PO box in the entryway that was meant for packages. UPS left it at the leasing office which meant I had to walk a few blocks to get it and a few blocks back. FedEx would somehow get into the building and leave it sitting in front of my door, which is super not cool with an iPhone-sized package that says "T-Mobile" on the side.

Now that I have a house and I work from home, I prefer USPS because they come at 9am, whereas FedEx comes around noon and UPS isn't here until after 5pm. Even though USPS "tramples" my lawn, they're going to do that anyway to deliver mail, and I'd rather get my package earlier. Plus UPS and FedEx knock on the door which makes my dogs bark when I might be on a call with a client.

But even then, my postman would sometimes walk through my gate into my backyard and leave packages at the back door (I guess to keep them from being stolen?), which stopped pretty quick when he walked through the closed gate and came face to face with my very surprised and scared dogs. Don't ignore a "beware of dog" sign just because you didn't see the dog before you opened the gate. Luckily he just got cornered and not bitten.

Delivering packages with high customer satisfaction is not as easy as it sounds.


I try hard to please all customers. Your phone number is on amazon labels. Often i text when there are issues. Communication is necessary for excellent customer service.


> I never would have considered someone cares about a delivery person walking over their lawn to drop a package off.

I never would have considered that anyone in the US would fail to recognize the social conventions about the difference between landscaping and walkways and the acceptable uses of each. In places where people have lawns in the first place, they tend to prefer that people not noticeably walk on them (many don't care about the walking so much as any visible sign after the fact.)


I'm very confused about the point of having a lawn is. if you're going to have something you cany walk on, why put in grass, one of the plants thats well adapted to be walked on


To the extent that grass is well adapted to beig walked on, that just makes it easier to avoid leaving visible signs of walking on it.

But lawns are largely decorative, which is why people with lawns also tend to have more durable (e.g., concrete) walkways connecting the front entrance of the home to the sidewalk (if present) or curb.


Guy in a Prius actually costs more than a dedicated delivery truck for once a day delivery's. However, if you want same day delivery you are more or less forced to use the Prius model as you are stuck doing small batches of delivery's anyway.

Remember, the last mile cost for you is basically the cost from their last hop to you + the carrying your package to all the other stops. If the delivery guy is going to visit several houses on your street that's basically a few hundred feet on average.


If you give everyone same day although, wouldn't the order flow increase to truck sizes?


Maybe. That would make it harder to spread the truck to door cost over several orders.


> I think we're going to see more and more of these pain points as we migrate from "dedicated delivery guy you become friends with who knows all the idiosyncrasies of his customers" to "random dude in a Prius who had a couple hours to spare". And I'm completely convinced the latter is coming to the major delivery companies if they want to stay competitive - Fedex Ground is only a hop skip and a jump away from that already.

That will be a sad day.


FedEx Home Delivery (Ground for residential) is on a route-franchise system as far as I can tell. The owner of the last route I was on was terrible- had to cancel Blue Apron because of it. Nothing would show up until 10-11 at night. My new route is awesome. Lady always has a smile and always shows up by 4 PM.


Living in a small town the delivery guys have been randos for a long time already.


An interesting approach might be a service where you could post your preferences, accessible to drivers of any service automatically when they're out to give you your package. Security implications would be nontrivial, though.


> I never would have considered someone cares about a delivery person walking over their lawn to drop a package off.

If they're wearing boots, or you have xeriscape, they can damage the irrigation system just an inch or two under the surface.


I always let packages ship to the local supermarket.

Actually feel bad for delivery guys who have to go to every single adress when its much more efficient to collect stuff at a central point. And how many people are not at home during delivery hours?


You feel bad for delivery workers, because they have work to do? I'm not sure they feel the same way.


Actually I'm sure they do. You think its fun running around and climbing stairs for 8 hours a day? Oh and if you're not home they have to come back. For free.


Just make a good case and email that Jeff address. My letter was well composed and not accusatory. Tried to be as friendly as possible. Even offered my cell # if they wanted to follow up.


You can do this almost immediately via live chat by just asking the CS rep to make a ticket requesting that $carrier be deprioritized for future deliveries to your address.

Emailing jeff@ tends to get you directly to the best and brightest of Amazons support team, so it's a good option too (albeit a bit slower).


> You can do this almost immediately via live chat by just asking the CS rep to make a ticket requesting that $carrier be deprioritized for future deliveries to your address.

Doesn't work for Amazon Logistics. I tried a couple times a few months ago, and my ticket kept getting denied. Deprioitizing AMZL_US appears to be an entirely different business process than other carriers, as the rep I spoke to didn't know how to do it at first.

They might not deny your request if you claim your home is a prison, but didn't try that route.


>> They might not deny your request if you claim your home is a prison, but didn't try that route.

Pure genius. I think I could believable get away with saying my house is a 1/2 way house for people getting out of prison. And there are stresses on the delivery driver that should only fall on a full time professional.


> And there are stresses on the delivery driver that should only fall on a full time professional.

IIRC, the three deprioritization justifications the rep had were:

1. Prison, 2. Military Base, 3. Three failed deliveries over the last 6 months.

I assume it's just a prison policy thing. I know no one besides USPS can deliver to AFO/FPO address (which are military I think), so maybe the same's true for prisons.


Places other than USPS can deliver to places on military bases provided you have a “physical” address vs a AFO/FPO. However, the delivery company and driver needs to be registered to deliver on that particular base. AFO/FPO addresses are USPS only as they are more of a CNAME/pointer for the persons physical address and can involve going to combat zones or ships at sea.


> However, the delivery company and driver needs to be registered to deliver on that particular base.

I bet this is Amazon's issue due to their gig-employment model. If they're employing randos from the internet, it's unlikely that any military base has approved any of them as drivers.


At times, emailing Jeff is the only option. Recently did so after a chat rep 'gave me incorrect info' that didn't work and then literally told me to "ask a friend."


What is that Jeff address thing?


Jeff Bezos's personal email address.


It used to be, anyway. These days it’s a shortcut to the top tier support team. I believe I spoke with Austin on the “Executive Support Team”.


He claims in interviews [1] that he reads everything that goes through there (but obviously doesn't reply).

[1]: https://www.recode.net/2016/6/1/11826718/jeff-bezos-amazon-f...


+1 I really wish we could choose our carrier, and reward those that do a good job. I used to have a way better experience with UPS then Fedex, the difference was huge because I would have to go to the Fedex warehouse to pick up my package (long story, Fedex was pretty bad in my area). But I have no control over who delivers it.

The Amazon delivery guys are way worse. I never know when something is coming, even if it says out for delivery I might not get it for days. Every time I need something for a trip that I buy 3 business days early, with 2 day prime shipping, I don't get it before I have to leave.

I gave up trying to complain, you could review the seller, but not the delivery service. Hopefully they have changed that. I used to only shop on Amazon for pretty much everything. Now I decide if I should get it from a local store instead. When I need something that is time sensitive, I definitely get it from a brick and mortar store.

The worst is that while UPS will leave the packages on my doorstep (and knock on the door), the off-brand Amazon delivery guys tend to leave the package in front of my garage door because it is closer. One of these days I'm going to drive over something expensive by accident.


Yeah, this has totally been my experience too.

FedEx, USPS, UPS - they all manage to get into my building and deliver my packages. Sometimes they even go all the way up to my door.

I've asked Amazon to stop trying to send packages via their couriers, because they don't even seem to bother trying to get in before giving up and leaving.

I don't know if it's a laziness thing or if they're under some sort of horrible time crunch to deliver every single one of these packages (not sure if they get a bonus for more packages delivered or something), but Amazon couriers REALLY suck.


> I don't know if it's a laziness thing or if they're under some sort of horrible time crunch to deliver every single one of these packages (not sure if they get a bonus for more packages delivered or something), but Amazon couriers REALLY suck.

Contract workers with unreasonable expectations dictated by management.


I've had similar experience with regard to sloppy deliveries from Amazon Logistics. However, recently we had one delivery person that made a real effort to ensure the package would not be stolen. I live in a city, so it's not uncommon for package thieves to stroll around and steal packages that are in plain view. This delivery guy went around the side of our house and tucked the bubble envelope up against a basement window well. If I didn't have surveillance cameras we wouldn't have found this package for weeks. I like his sentiment, but his implementation leaves a lot to be desired.


I've had a similar experience. Living in the city, I'm livid whenever I find that they left a package on the doorstep of my building, which very clearly has no lock on the garden gate. I've not had a package stolen yet, but how do you just leave it in plain sight and walk away, as a delivery person?

But one time, I got a "delivered" notification but couldn't find it, and none of my neighbors brought it in. I finally found it after digging into the "delivered" order information and finding a picture they sent of my package behind a bush, up against the wall of my building, completely hidden. I thought it might just be a one-off thing, but I honestly wish they would always do this, so long as they tell me where it is. I'd rather have to play hide-and-seek than have to be home all day to get a delivery.


We also canceled a few hundred dollars worth of monthly deliveries once Amazon started using USPS to deliver them. Having to go to the post office to pick up larger boxes because they were too big to be delivered to our home meant it was easier to just go buy the stuff ourselves.


> too big to be delivered to our home

That's a thing? I've had tons of large packages delivered via USPS and have never had them hold something for being too big. Are you in an apt complex that doesn't have a package pickup area?


It's a smaller post office.


Our whole block had delivery confirmations and no packages. Next day, the package showed up. Amazon Logistics is terrible. Last week I had an LCD monitor thrown over our 6' fence behind our house.


Was the box marked fragile from the outside?


Would it matter? It was the amazon warehouses' responsibility to mark the package fragile to avoid reckless behavior by amazon delivery. Both are Amazon's duty when they're both the seller and the shipper.


Totally agree with you. I was just wondering, as I have never seen an Amazon box actually have the "fragile" warning label on it, and didn't know if they even did that.

You would assume the weight of the customers monitor would tell any reasonable delivery driver not to drop the package 6 feet, regardless of what the box says.


Even for items that explicitly _aren't_ fragile, I wouldn't exactly be thrilled by that handling (it's just asking for, e.g., the box to partially come open and something go missing).

On the subject of delivery notifications, I had a parcel "delivered to a receptionist" last week, despite it being a residential house (because my sister opened the door).


Totally agree. With UPS and FedEx I always got my packages. With the amazon delivery I seemed to miss them all the time. Until one day I got a call from this lady in my subdivision and said she had all my packages. Apparently she has he same house number as mine but a totally different street. She tried to reach amazon but they told her that since the packages aren’t hers there isn’t much they can do. So I called them. The dude at the call center said he’ll ship them again at no charge. After many mental wtf’s and facepalms I finally managed to get thru to him that his delivery person is going to the wrong house. He said “he’ll make a note”. The note seems to have worked for now.


I've had the complete opposite experience in Berlin. In Berlin, most of the "houses" here are 5 story walk ups - and DHL drivers (the main delivery service here) are so lazy they don't even bother ringing the door bell. Instead, if you are lucky, they leave your package at a neighbours house and tell you where it is. Usually they drop it off at some terrible centre where you have to go pick it up (defeating the purpose of getting something delivered), or even worse dropping it off somewhere and not telling you where!

Amazon so far actually delivers the package... when they don't contract it out to DHL.


In the UK I have had the exact opposite experience. Amazon Logistics was a bit patchy to begin with but they have improved a lot over the past 18 months.

My only bugbear is that the I seem to always be one of the last stops for the guy who does our area so deliveries are always around 7 pm.


They are still very variable for me (UK). With Royal Mail etc., I can be all but certain that by about 2pm I'll have the package. Most of the time, Amazon can match that, but I definitely get more issues with them than with other carriers (deliveries as late as 10pm, missed deliveries, items arriving damaged, items left in weird places [e.g. wheelie bin shortly before it was due to be emptied] even when people are in the house, items left in "safe" places without leaving any notification, misleading email notifications etc.). They've definitely improved, but are still a lesser service in my experience.


I avoid all the 'carriers' and use the Local Collect to my local Post Office. Only disadvantage I guess is the Sunday deliveries, but It's a worth while trade-off.


Same experience here in the UK. Started out poor, but now just as good as Royal Mail.


Sometimes they shoot themselves in the foot with delivery estimates, too. A month or two back, I ordered an item on Wednesday that said it wouldn't be delivered until the next Tuesday. I was OK with that, so I ordered it. Checked on the order the next day and it now had an expected delivery by Saturday at 8PM. Saturday at 8:01PM it changes to "There's been a delay, now expected Monday by 8PM". Monday 8PM rolls around, no package, and it changes to "Tuesday by 8PM".

So it arrives on the day it was originally expected. Difference is, now I'm irritated because I've had to change my plans several times.


I think I first started seeing Amazon doing their own deliveries in 2013 or 2014 in LA, and they were awful at first. Got a lot better by 2016 or so, though.

I've noticed now, though, it's spread to much more suburban areas where they're way worse. Delivering to an apartment complex in LA with a slightly-hidden package area seems much easier for them than delivering to a bunch of individual suburban houses - packages tossed out the car, photographed laying their on the sidewalk - and I wasn't surprised based on the delivery photos they took when the packages to my parents got stolen. :|

Now I just don't order things from them for my parents. Works for me, ordering to large buildings for work or home, but not to send to addresses I'm not familiar with. So there goes all my gift-buying business.

They're still fast, for me, at least, though. If that goes away...

Another part of my personal mitigation has been that I order less from regular Amazon though, now, and more from Prime Now. Same day in a two hour window for $5 ("suggested tip"), and seems like it's not prone to the same stock intermingling stuff because they don't have third party sellers on Prime Now and they don't have the same inventory.


I think the thing here is that Amazon is trying to fill a lack of capacity. There have been times where Amazon has effectively exceed delivery bandwidth in some places.

I’d imagine they are thinking that bad shipping is better than no shipping and try to improve from there.


Their service with their existing delivery service (Amazon Logistics) has been TERRIBLE thus far. Lazy drivers leaving packages in clear sight in the middle of the driveway, unreliable delivery estimates, etc.

Bad delivery people are like some kind of spatial plague. Your neighborhood might be so afflicted, or it might have good people, with the occasional hiccup due to a substitute delivery worker.

Sometimes, it's the USPS that has the bozos, but UPS is good. Sometimes, it's also UPS.


I had a package delivered to my work and the Amazon guy gave it to some random person in the building. Didn't even bother to come to the Suite #


I really think it is going to depend on your location and a bit of luck unfortunately. The local couriers in my area who work with Amazon at first were horrible but have gotten much better to the point I prefer them because they will deliver usually early in the morning and on any day of the week. I've been getting reliable Sunday morning deliveries for a few months now.


Amazon as a company is all about efficiency. The one area they have been slow to apply this (till now) is with user acquisition and retention.

This is now changing. Right now amazon has hundreds of MBA Product Managers crunching data to determine how much they can screw up in certain areas with little to no impact on customer happiness or churn (on a macro level.)


not US but india. Amazon delivery allows me to either leave the package with a neighbour or to deliver to a shop(they have some tie up with local shops) from where I can pick up.

This was quite helpful couple of times when the package arrived ahead of time and i was not available to sign the package. and this can be set even after the package is shipped.


This combined this other problems such as comingeling and how bad their listings have become convinced me to let my subscription expire. Really wish they’d stop trying to expand into everything and use that effort to clean up what they already have. I don’t think they’ve built anything that’s polished.


You forgot to mention deliveries arriving late Sunday evening from unmarked white rental vans.


I've noticed that 2 day prime has become 4-5 day with some rare exceptions.


Another way to look at this. Due to less parcels from Amazon to USP and FedEx, both companies had the capacity to reach their delivery timeframes.


> Lazy drivers

I'm sure some of them are, but—for the most part—I think Amazon and their subcontractors have absurd expectations about their drivers' performance, as described in this lawsuit:

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2017/12/21/25647480/deliver...


So far my experience with Amazon's delivery service has been pretty negative. Expensive packages going missing, packages delivered to the wrong address, attempts to deliver packages to business addresses outside of business hours etc.

Personally I would prefer the option of Amazon allowing me to pick the carrier I want to use rather than simply go with lowest cost. In most cases I value reliability over lower cost.


I ordered a graphics card from Newegg back in November and it got shipped via FedEx. What was really nice with Fedex was that I could have it shipped to my house, or pick from any FedEx or several Walgreens locations for pickup.

Since it was an expensive package I chose to pick it up from a Walgreens near my office.

Amazon's shipping is faster, but Newegg/FedEx shipping was a much better experience. It told me who was shipping the package up front and let me choose from several delivery options via that carrier.


I would rather to choose as well since I live directly beside carrier X pickup point, but they always use carrier Y which means driving across the city to get it.

The Amazon delivery drivers always harass you as well, phoning multiple times and totally perplexed you have a job and can't be home to pick something up demanding a time for redelivery on the spot which means I have to stop what I'm doing and screw around with my schedule. Either let me enter precise time windows for delivery, get pickup spots or let me choose the shipping company which is the easiest, I don't care about the extra $5 if it means I'm not spending half my Saturday in traffic to get a book.


Just to chime in here about how terrible and unaccountable the delivery service is -

I bought a part for my bike that on first attempt went to the wrong intermediate routing center. They marked it as undeliverable instead of just rerouting it. I had to get a refund and was promised a $25 credit to my next purchase. That didn’t happen.

I ordered the same item again. It was lost in transit. Got refund with no credit.

It took the third try to get my item. I selected same day delivery on the previous two but not the third.

I live in San Francisco and the item was in their Fremont fullfillment center. So....?


If they didn't give you a credit that promised you should follow up and hold them accountable. They should have logs of account actions, and if not, you should save a log of the chat where it was promised.


Further to this, my £10 credit for missed deliveries could only be applied to items sold by and shipped from Amazon. No third party sellers. It also only showed up right at the end of the checkout process just before the final click.

Mentioning because I both thought I hadn’t been credited with it (first time of chasing Amazon I actually hadn’t it turned out...) and then was miffed I could only use it on a subset of items.


Under/Over 10 years after Bezos retires, does Amazon end up looking like GE does now? This spree of Amazon getting into markets that are already at near-perfect competition levels is a bit worrying. How many people could reasonably handle a business this complicated, with so many competitors?


If you are talking about more than 10 years from now....

There is no way Amazon doesn't fire all these Gig operators and replace them with Drones. I live in Las Vegas where we have the most industry friendly drone laws in the country and have already received a test delivery.


> This spree of Amazon getting into markets that are already at near-perfect competition levels

Is this true? Retail shipping is not nearly that competitive, at least from a very naive consumer standpoint looking in.

Amazon can ship stuff at 20-30% of the cost I would pay as a small business to UPS. Using UPS.

Seems like there is a ton of margin there to be captured.


Shipping is very competitive. These are some of the most seasoned and efficient businesses, by necessity, in the world.

If Amazon is shipping things cheaper, it's because they are using it as a loss leader. You don't really think it costs them $0 to ship things, do you?


> If Amazon is shipping things cheaper, it's because they are using it as a loss leader. You don't really think it costs them $0 to ship things, do you?

No, I'm specifically talking about actual dollars paid to UPS. I run (ran) a small business, and we shipped about a pallet or two (overall) a week. Amazon's leaked UPS rates a few years back were about 30% of our already heavily discounted (from what a retail customer would pay) rates. Where did the $0 shipping comment come from?

You also can commit to a spend with Fedex/UPS of relatively small amounts (4 figures/mo) and get an immediate and painless 25-40% off immediately.

Like I said there is a lot of margin there, at least in certain segments of the business. I'm just not sure how much or where exactly the costs are (there may be very legitimate reasons why serving Amazon costs less than half of serving me) to know if there is a retail cost play.


I order something or other from Amazon every couple weeks and, living in Chicago, have often gotten it via Amazon delivery for a year or two now. It just seems like one problem after another: not actually dropping the package off, hiding the package in a crevice between buildings, very often not arriving when quoted, rude calls from drivers because I'm not at home. Add to this problems with worker pay and treatment, and I'll stick to UPS whenever possible.


I used to work for a company that did logistic software, and Amazon creating their own last-mile service was something they predicted years ago.

It's a nightmare for them because it will ultimately take business away from every carrier, and more sellers will ultimately want to use Amazon's service over time. The margins in shipping are already razor-thin, and Amazon would easily be able to take the loss to choke other competitors out.


Can you post a source about the carriers margins being paper thin because looking at the last annual reports for FedEx and UPS, it doesn't seem to be the case. The biggest expense for them is labor and I think Amazon is going to do a good job of controlling that cost. Goodbye Teamsters.


Sorry, guess I should of been more specific. Margin is thin per package, because shipping is a volume game. Sending a package is actually pretty cheap for most businesses, but unless you have volume, you have no leverage to get a reduced rate.


If Amazon takes a loss on their shipping service that could very directly open them to an anti-trust investigation


The current political climate makes the risk calculus lean towards the "do illegal thing" direction


I would actually pay extra, to Amazon, for Amazon not to deliver their own package, the service is that bad.


Amazon logistics has a habit around here of delivering packages at 11pm to make the delivery day requirements...I can't help but feel it's yet another huge organization wringing out their employees because hey, employees are expendable.


..to complete with FedEX, UPS and USPS, with later one being the worst of them all. Amazon has been stockpiling used cargo aircrafts for some time now in Seattle (hint..hint) and creating a delivery service at grass root city level makes much more sense for them because 1) you are not relying to ship goods from your regional warehouses often 2) this helps you get tax benefits by bringing in delivery jobs locally 3) expedited shipping of common use products such toilet papers, toothpaste etc that do not need to get shipped from regional warehouses. A lot of time your late delivery complaint just ended up you getting a $5 credit or a month waiver from your annual prime membership because Amazon can't hold USPS delivery guy accountable as it can to one of its own.


Amzn shipping has changed for the much worse in the last two years, guessing to prioritize prime customers?

We used to get our items shipped promptly and they would arrive slowly but surely in about a week. You would see progress at e.g. ups/usps.

Now they sit on your order for a week then send it and it arrives in two weeks. If you call and complain they will two-day ship it. Much less progress is visible as well, leaving you to wonder the whole time and bother support.

How can that make any financial sense? How can sitting on it for a week make sense? They still have to deliver all the packages, now they’re a week behind.

Have done business with them for ~20 years and considering another merchant where treated with respect.


I hope they replace their Prime delivery routes first. UPS and FedEx are decent. Amazon's Prime delivery in NYC is awful. They toss packages near doors. Report attempting delivery and that no one was home without bothering to even show up at the building. Even the ones that actually deliver will hit every doorbell of a multi-unit apartment building until someone buzzes them and then open the front door and toss the box into the front hallway.


This hope seems to ride on the chance that Amazon gives its own drivers more time to deliver a package than they do for contractors they currently control.

Seems just as likely the reverse will happen.


We've been having problem with packages stink with cigarette smell to the point that we have to open the packages outside of the house and the wash our hands.


When Amazon completely dominates the online market and all its aspects, wouldn't it be in a GREAT position to charge customers much much more? Would it still need to be "competitive"?


This is what they did to all the prices on Amazon. Started cheap or at a loss and now prices are equal to or more expensive than going to a normal store.


Examples? Certainly nothing I purchase regularly is cheaper in a store. Especially considering the inconvenience of a store, and 5% cashback on everything.


Specifically, a package of 3 bars of Cetaphil soap in my local walmart is less than 10$ to walk out the door with. Compare that to prices on amazon that range from the same price as in store, to over $20 with shipping excluded!

Another example, this time a slightly more bulk item, is ramen noodles [0]. They are around 20 cents a noodle in local stores, while amazon lists them around 50 cents per noodle (even in large 36 packs)

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Maruchan-chicken-noodle-soup-pack/dp/...


Oh, I don't buy day to day grocery store stuff on Amazon.


I was keying off of your "purchase regularly" comment. Either way, the only products that amazon seems to offer at a reasonably competitive price, factoring in shipping, is amazon basics items, and that's because they can do to the supply chain the same thing walmart did.


Eh. Books, water filters, video games, camera lenses/filters, bags, lawn fertilizer, shoes, movies. All of that stuff is definitely cheaper on amazon than anywhere else. Big ticket items especially. Factor in 5% back, and you get most of your tax, or straight up 5% off tax free items. Can't really beat 2day prime shipping, and no hassle returns.


When was the last time you actually comparison shopped? I don't find Amazon's prices to be particularly great in those categories, more than "average to poor." Your "free two day shipping" isn't free, it's prepaid.

For electronics, for example, I find that Newegg provides much better service and lightning fast shipping at compatible prices.

Also "stores" deliver too (target.com, walmart.com, bestbuy.com, etc).


I comparison shop EVERY item I purchase. I used to be a hardcore shopper on Newegg, Amazon will consistently beat them. Newegg went down that messy third party route, and it's been a disaster ever since. The shipping is hit or miss, Shoprunner is rarely supported since they began offering their version of prime, whatever it's called. I have "Keepa" notifiers on everything, and catch lightning/warehouse/price drops on everything. I'm definitely not going to go digging around Walmart/Target daily for $5 BluRay titles.


A PS4 1TB Slim is $320 right now. Target has it for $300.

During the holidays, they and retailers sold it for $250. After the holidays, I watched slowly as the price started rising each week. Retailers jumped back up to $300, but Amazon was at $270, then $290, and now strangely $320.


As always, shop around. Amazon usually wins out for me.


Will? I’ve gotten two or three packages this way.

On the plus side you get a picture of the package at your door (or whatever) so you know they left it.

But it doesn’t integrate well with my delivery tracking app. They don’t know to drop packages at the package desk at my apartment complex instead of leaving them on my doorstep to be stolen.

Interesting to see them go more vertical though.


Are those third party contractors or an Amazon service? Here we have some random guys driving around in their own cars throwing packages on your stoop. This sounds like a more formal courier operated by Amazon themselves.


Amazon operates the delivery center. Most drivers are subcontracted through a couple different messenger companies and use rented Ford Transits, and the randos in their own cars take care of the rest.


I get the feeling it’s a real service, not just random contracts to couriers. But I’ve never been home to meet one when a package got delivered so I’m not sure.

It may be a mix right now for all I know.


I think it's pretty telling that there are 200 comments here and not a single one praises AMZL.

I think I saw one person who said he/she hadn't had any specifically bad experiences with AMZL, but that most of his/her deliveries are UPS anyway.

The phrase "piss-poor" comes to mind.


This is an interesting strategy. The "build a service for internal use, then make it a service" strategy worked for them with AWS and web stores, but it failed for Amazon Fresh (but they are trying to turn it around with Whole Foods), and now they're trying again with shipping logistics.

Personally I've found them so-so, and certainly not great. I frequently get calls from drivers that are lost that can't find my new-ish street and need some help. It's certainly fine that the first one gets lost, but when the second one gets lost it's apparent that the organization isn't building up any knowledge about hard-to-find customers. This is a moat they could build, but they're not interested.


As a counterpoint to all the negative comments about AMZL (Amazon Logistics), I've never had an issue with them, and generally order 10+ items from Amazon a month. That said, I don't look at how my order is being delivered (generally it's UPS and OnTrac).

My only issue is that I'll see random cars driving slowly through my neighborhood (probably looking for the right house number to deliver to), which usually triggers me to think of suspicious activity.


I hope they unionize quickly and then put in rules to not allow from me deliveries to take away union jobs. Have them play on an even field.


Amazon's delivery service now (in my area, anyway) takes a photo of the package once it's placed on your doorstep, and the Amazon iPhone app confirmation includes a notice showing the photo.

It's been a nice feature for me, until one driver put the package on my front porch, but then too, a photo from their car of my entire house as the delivery confirmation photo.


This doesn't really seem that innovative to me -- even the postal service can send you an email of what is in your mailbox.


It solves the biggest problem that I had with AMZL, which is when the courier claims they delivered a package when they didn't. What happens is that the same day couriers will get overloaded and be unable to finish their routes by the 9PM delivery deadline, so they'll just drive by and mark delivered (I think it's a GPS thing) and then drop it off in the morning. Some times they never deliver it at all. The picture eliminates this bullshit, as they must show the package on my doorstep.

I haven't had this problem since AMZL started taking pictures, but I also haven't tried Same Day delivery as much. I'll have to give it another shot to see what happens.


FedEx and UPS should have cut Amazon off while they could still kill them.


Or bought them / merged.


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